The word "downsize" doesn't mean the same thing for everyone. A traditional definition of the word might equal moving into a small, inexpensive home that requires less maintenance and care. Others may seek similar sized or larger residences that provide amenities for working out, enjoying a day at the salon, or spending time with friends at the pool. Being able to walk or drive a short distance to the community clubhouse instead of heading into town is a true luxury.
There are many 55+ communities throughout the country that are perfect for living this desirable lifestyle. And like other regions, Central New Jersey caters to active adults seeking to make this change, whatever their definition of downsizing might be.
If you've chosen a retirement location like Central Jersey, a major step is already completed. Now, you'll need to consider some questions. What are your priorities for achieving happiness when you downsize? How do you want to spend your time? Children and grandchildren are a priority for many, and if they live far away, you may need an extra bedroom.
Also, active adults who want to travel frequently should take those costs into consideration. Others who prefer staying close to home should research the community’s amenities and nearby attractions. Conveniences like nearby shopping centers and good medical care are also akin to low-maintenance living.
Here are five Central New Jersey communities that offer attractive floor plans for active adults looking to downsize.
Mid $300s - High $300s
The Pointe at Turnbury, a gated 55+ neighborhood of 190 attached resale homes, is located just outside of Princeton. It's open to homeowners aged 48 and up if one household member is at least 55.
There are seven floor plans ranging from 1,844 to 2,508 square feet, each with two to three bedrooms, two-and-a-half to three bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage. They feature roomy, first-floor master suites and gourmet kitchens. Neighbors gather at the modern clubhouse and spend quality time in the sunroom, the beauty salon, and the library. Groups for billiards, parties, cards, and meditation meet in the activity rooms or get together for day trips and movie nights.
High $100s - High $500s
One of the most distinctive active adult communities in Central Jersey is The Essex and Sussex. This refurbished hotel was built across from the Atlantic Ocean in 1914, and it was restored and turned into a condo community in the early 2000s. There are 165 condo units from 420 to 700 square feet. Most have one bedroom, one bathroom, and reserved parking spots.
Active adult homeowners here love the “hotel-style” living, as they get to come home to an impressive atrium and lobby and enjoy meals in the dining rooms and bistro. There's also a solarium, a fitness center, a media theater, a cocktail lounge, and beach access.
Low $100s - Mid $300s
As a large, well-established active adult community of 952 resale attached homes, Shadow Lake Village offers 14 floor plans ranging from 909 to 1,391 square feet. These offer one or two bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, and either a parking spot or a garage. Some models include dens, patios, and balconies.
A homeowners' association (HOA) fee covers trash pickup, landscaping, and a community shuttle. Residents enjoy leisure time at the community fitness center, sauna, outdoor pool, nine-hole golf course, and boating and fishing lake. Homeowners can also engage in some friendly competition at the bocce ball, shuffleboard, and tennis courts.
Mid $200s - Mid $300s
A Pulte active adult neighborhood, The Ponds was built from 1994 to 1999 and has 575 attached and single-family homes. The townhomes range from 1,237 to 1,800 square feet with two bedrooms, two or two-and-a-half baths, and attached one- or two-car garages. Options include patios and expansive master suites.
The 25,000-square-foot clubhouse has an arts and crafts studio, a woodworking shop, an exercise room, activity rooms, and a library. Outside, there's a refreshing outdoor pool, sports courts, a nine-hole putting green, trails, ponds, and natural space. The Ponds also has dozens of vibrant social and activity clubs, including photography, B'nai B'rith, an Italian American Club, women’s and men’s clubs, investment clubs, and more.
Low $100s - Low $200s
Carriage Park at Lawrence offers cozy condo living at an affordable cost. This community has 210 resale homes and 15 floor plans ranging from 723 to 1,540 square feet. Studios are available as well as one- and two-bedroom units. Features include granite counters, balconies, and basement storage spots.
The community clubhouse has an exercise room, a lounge, a billiards room, a library, and an arts and crafts studio. There's also an outdoor pool, horseshoes, walking trails, shuffleboard, and bocce. The HOA fee provides for lawn care, trash and snow removal, and exterior building maintenance.